Getting to Know: Kenjon Barner
The NCAA Football Cover Vote is down to just four semifinalists, and EA SPORTS will be interviewing each star in the coming days.
For our first interview, we sat down with former Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, who gave us some insight on what it meant to call Eugene home.
EA: Why did you decide to go to Oregon?
KB: I went to Oregon because of the community. I expected everyone from the athletic program to be nice, welcoming, and loving. But I wanted to get out into the environment and see what that was like. Once I was able to get out and be a part of the community, I knew there was no better place to be than Oregon.
EA: Can you tell us what it means to “Win the Day?”
KB: Coach Kelly came up with that. It’s not only something to do with football, but everyday life, whether that’s in the classroom, at home, or in relationships and friendships. It’s all about being better than you were the previous day.
EA: Can you tell us about the “Win the Day” sign in the Oregon tunnel?
KB: We walk through a dark tunnel and the sign glows in the dark. We run down the tunnel, slap it and it makes a lot of noise. It’s right by our opponent’s locker room so it’s a constant thunderous loud sound from 115 guys on our team that gets us ready to go for the game.
EA: What is the roar of the crowd like when you are coming out onto the field?
KB: The roar of the crowd is electrifying. If that doesn’t get you ready for a game, then I don’t know what will. Coming out onto the field is a completely different atmosphere, it’s electric. It’s our fans screaming, “GO, DUCKS, GO, DUCKS” that gets your adrenaline pumping and gets you ready to play.
EA: Is the Duck the best mascot in college football?
KB: Best mascot in the country, best mascot in the world. I don’t think any other mascot could do as many push-ups as we made our duck do the last four years. Our duck definitely takes home the trophy.
Barner led the Ducks to a 12-win season and a win in the Fiesta Bowl, the team's fourth consecutive BCS appearance.
EA: Is there an Oregon player that you model your game after?
KB: I would say Jeremiah Johnson and a little bit of Jonathan Stewart, guys that were there before me that I was able to watch from a distance to see what they did. Also LaMichael (James), being at Oregon while he was, I like to take bits and pieces from each of those guys to advance my game.
EA: Who is the greatest Oregon player of all time?
KB: Ahmad Rashad.
EA: How do the Oregon uniforms affect how you play?
KB: If you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you play good. So with Oregon’s different uniform combinations, you always feel like you out-dressed the other team. Being a part of that program and having all the different selections of uniforms and different combinations, you go out on the field feeling on your A-game.
EA: Do you think other teams wish they had your uniforms?
KB: Absolutely. There’s not a doubt about it. I’m training with some guys from different schools and all they talk about is our uniforms. Even when I was out at the Senior Bowl, they would ask what helmet, cleats, and jersey I was wearing that day. I definitely feel like a lot of guys wish they had what I had at Oregon.
EA: How many different combinations have you worn?
KB: A lot. I know that I never worn the same uniform twice in four-and-a-half years at Oregon, so that’s a lot of different combinations.
EA: Do you have a favorite?
KB: I do. Our storm LA uniforms that we wore this past season at USC. White helmet, white jersey, white pants, and white cleats take the cake.
EA: What does it feel like to win the Pac-12 (formerly the Pac-10) three times in your career?
KB: This ring here is one of my prized trophies. Winning the conference the three years in a row and looking down at everyone else felt good. You always want to win your conference. For us to be there is an absolute blessing and I can’t complain.
Many thanks to Kenjon Barner for his time and good luck to him in the NCAA Football Cover Vote!
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